There are lots of ways to highlight just how great Baylor is this season -- among them the fact that the Bears are the only team with an adjusted offensive efficiency rating and adjusted defensive efficiency rating that each rank in the top five nationally; they are awesome on both ends of the court. But what's also impressive is how they don't need their best player to play well to beat other good teams, and how they can take a big punch from an opponent while still cruising.
Baylor showed that over the past three days.
On Saturday, the Bears won 68-60 at Texas Tech despite their leading scorer, Jared Butler, missing nine of the 11 shots he took while committing a game-high seven turnovers. Butler was bad -- but it didn't matter. Baylor still won, no problem. Then, on Monday, the Bears beat Kansas 77-69 even though the Jayhawks made 10 of the 19 3-pointers they attempted. KU was great from beyond the arc -- but it didn't matter. Baylor still won, no problem, to remain undefeated and keep pace with top-ranked Gonzaga.
"I would be shocked if there's a third team that fits into that category [with Gonzaga and Baylor]," said Kansas coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks lost 102-90 to Gonzaga in the opening game of the season. "We saw Gonzaga actually run it right down our throat right from the beginning; we saw Baylor do the same thing. So the games were actually pretty similar."
As Self noted, the games were similar in the sense that Gonzaga and Baylor controlled things from the jump. Gonzaga led Kansas by double-digits not even six minutes in and won by 12. Baylor led Kansas by double-digits not even six minutes in and won by eight (though it would've been an 11-point victory if not for a final-second Chris Teahan 3-pointer that turned winning bets into losing bets, and losing bets into winning bets, at the buzzer). Both the Zags and Bears overwhelmed a good -- maybe not great, but definitely good -- Kansas team that's in possession of three Quadrant 1 wins. And I think those results say way more about Gonzaga and Baylor than they do about Kansas, which, like everybody else in the sport, just is not operating on the level of Gonzaga and Baylor right now.
Baylor remains No. 2 in Tuesday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. Kansas remains No. 8. And, yes, I realize the Jayhawks are now just 10-4. But it would make little sense to punish them for losing a single-digit game at Baylor, and it should be noted that three of KU's four losses are to teams ranked ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1 -- specifically No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Baylor and No. 6 Texas. Kansas owns wins over No. 9 West Virginia, No. 12 Texas Tech and No. 17 Creighton. So the body of work is still solid even if the record might be a little misleading.
Tuesday's Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Gonzaga's perfect record is headlined by double-digit wins over Iowa, Kansas and Virginia. The Zags are projected to be double-digit favorites in every game between now and Selection Sunday.||--||6-3|
|Baylor's perfect record is highlighted by victories over Kansas, Texas Tech and Illinois. The Bears are the only undefeated team left that plays in a power conference.||--||7-2|
|Villanova's resume features wins over Texas, Marquette and Arizona State. The Wildcats have not played since Dec. 23 because of COVID-19 issues inside the program.||--||4-5|
|Iowa's four Quadrant 1 victories are against Minnesota, Maryland, Rutgers and Northwestern. The Hawkeyes will take a five-game winning streak into Thursday's game with Indiana.||--||7-2|
|Michigan's resume features double-digit victories over Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Maryland. The Wolverines' lone loss is a double-digit loss at Minnesota.||--||6-3|
|Texas' most impressive wins are road wins at Kansas and West Virginia. Both of the Longhorns' losses are considered Quadrant 1 defeats.||--||6-1|
|Tennessee's resume features wins over Colorado and Missouri. The Vols will take a three-game winning streak into Tuesday's game at Florida.||--||8-1|
|Kansas' resume includes victories over West Virginia, Texas Tech and Creighton. Three of the Jayhawks' four losses are to schools ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.||--||8-1|
|Six of West Virginia's nine wins have come against top-100 KenPom teams. All four of the Mountaineers' losses are considered Quadrant 1 losses.||--||7-2|
|Houston owns six wins in the first two quadrants - most notably a double-digit victory over Texas Tech. The Cougars will take a four-game winning streak into Wednesday's game with Tulsa.||--||9-0|
|Minnesota owns Quadrant 1 wins over Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Saint Louis. All four of the Golden Gophers' losses have come inside the first quadrant.||--||4-5|
|Texas Tech's resume is highlighted by a road win at Texas. Three of the Red Raiders' four losses are to teams ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.||--||6-2|
|Wisconsin's resume is highlighted by wins over Minnesota and Louisville. Two of the Badgers' three losses are considered Quadrant 1 losses.||--||7-2|
|Ohio State's best victories are wins over Illinois and UCLA. The Buckeyes will take a three-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Wisconsin.||--||7-2|
|Virginia is 5-0 in the ACC after Saturday's 85-50 victory over Clemson. The Cavaliers have won their five league games by an average of 15.4 points.||--||8-0|
|Alabama has recorded wins over Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida. The Crimson Tide have won seven straight games since losing to Western Kentucky.||--||7-1|
|Creighton's resume includes victories over UConn and Xavier but zero wins over teams in the top 20 of the NET. The Bluejays suffered a Quadrant 3 loss Saturday when they fell in overtime at Butler.||--||6-3|
|Saint Louis' resume features wins over NC State and LSU. The Billikens have not played since Dec. 23 because of COVID-19 issues inside the program.||--||7-3|
|Illinois is just 6-5 in its past 11 games after starting the season 3-0. The Illini will take a two-game losing streak into Tuesday's game with Penn State.||--||7-2|
|Oregon improved to 4-1 in the Pac-12 via Saturday's 79-73 victory at Utah. The Ducks' resume also includes wins over Stanford and Seton Hall.||--||4-5|
|UCLA's resume includes victories over Colorado and Arizona. The Bruins will take a six-game winning streak into Thursday's game at Cal.||1||7-2|
|Colorado's best wins are over Oregon and USC. The Buffaloes will take a four-game winning streak into Wednesday's game at Washington.||1||5-5|
|USC will take a six-game winning streak into Thursday's game at Stanford. The Trojans' only losses are to UConn and Colorado.||1||7-3|
|Virginia Tech's resume is highlighted by wins over Villanova, Clemson and Duke. The Hokies will take a three-game winning streak into Wednesday's game with Boston College.||1||9-1|
|Missouri's resume features wins over Illinois, Oregon and Arkansas. The Tigers' two losses are double-digit losses to Tennessee and Mississippi State.||1||9-0|
|Clemson has four wins over teams in the top 50 at KenPom - most notably Alabama and Florida State. Both of the Tigers' losses are to schools ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.||NR||8-2|